Danny Wilson were a Scottish pop group formed in Dundee, Scotland. Part of the loosely-affiliated "sophisti-pop" movement of the late 1980s (which also included Deacon Blue and Swing Out Sister), the band is best known for their 1988 UK number 3 hit single "Mary's Prayer".
The band served as a launchpad for the career of Gary Clark, who also played in the 1990s bands King L and Transister before becoming a successful songwriter for other artists including Natalie Imbruglia, Liz Phair, Nick Carter, k.d. lang and former Spice Girls Melanie C and Emma Bunton. Other former members of the band have played in Simple Minds, Deacon Blue and Swiss Family Orbison.
Influenced by sophisticated soul and pop artists such as Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Bacharach & David, Gary Clark and Ged Grimes grew up together in Dundee, Scotland and played together in school bands. Moving to London, they subsequently played in the bands Perfect Strangers and Dream Kitchen during the early 1980s with little success.
Circa 1984, while still in London, Clark and Grimes noticed that talent scouts and journalists were beginning to follow the soul and pop scenes in Scottish cities. Returning to Dundee, they teamed up with Gary Clark's younger brother Kit Clark to form a new band called Spencer Tracy (after the film star of the same name). Initially spotted busking around Dundee, Spencer Tracy signed to Virgin Records in 1986.
After objections from the estate of the original Spencer Tracy the band was obliged to change its name. Gary Clark recalls this as "a real last-minute crazy, fearful moment... The album was done, the artwork was done... We were just told, 'If you try and use this, you will be sued.' And so the label just went 'Nope. Change it. Now.'" For their new name, the band chose Danny Wilson, taken from a 1952 Frank Sinatra film called Meet Danny Wilson (itself a favourite film of the Clark brothers' father).
All three members of Danny Wilson played a variety of instruments and had a good grounding in production skills, resulting in a degree of skill and practical independence which stood them in good stead for future development. The band would later summarise their approach as follows: "Whoever has an idea can play it and we'll record it. However that means that it's pretty impossible to document who played what on what track. Sometimes Ged might be playing an instrument (usually a rented ethnic one) and Kit would jump in for the middle eight." Generally speaking, Grimes played all of the bass parts (including double bass) while Gary Clark played most of the guitar and piano parts on album. Kit Clark functioned as a multi-instrumental wild card (including accordion, guitar and found percussion) and provided unorthodox musical ideas: the band once summarised his contribution as "if you hear something mental and think to yourself "What the f**k was that?" then it's probably Kit."
The band remained a trio throughout its lifetime, hiring in other members (drummers in particular). Lead vocals were shared between the Clark brothers: Gary, as the band's main songwriter, took the majority of these but over time Kit sang more of them.
Danny Wilson were a pop group formed in Dundee, Scotland